The aim of this study was to examine the potential costs and some of the potential economic benefits of early interventions that prevent or reduce perinatal mental illness and their long-term impacts on mothers and their children (thereby potentially leading to savings and other positive economic consequences). A more generalised way to describe the study is that the authors sought to examine the economic case for investing in early interventions that reflect best practice in England.
Early interventions are defined broadly as interventions that aim to prevent or treat mental health conditions during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum. The scope of the study was defined by interventions that specifically aimed to reduce mental health problems during the perinatal period (defined as the period during pregnancy up to one year after birth). While this included different perinatal mental health conditions, most evidence in this area is concerned with depression. The focus was thus on ante- or postnatal depression but also considering evidence on other conditions such as anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder and psychosis.